City defender John Stones hasn’t had the greatest of starts to the 2021/22 season, though his England teammate Harry Maguire is having an even worse time over at Manchester United. Stones has been speaking about his international colleague’s form ahead of the Three Lions’ clash with Albania.
Pep Guardiola has backed Xavi to succeed following his appointment as Barcelona boss, but he might not be quite so supportive when he hears the player he used to manage is already eyeing up one of his star men.
City are themselves looking to bolster their frontline options and have pinpointed a player who enjoyed great success at the Etihad Stadium earlier this season, and a City defender has been labelled the best in the world for the second time in a week…
City defender Stones is no stranger to criticism and so he’s probably in a decent position to offer United captain Maguire some words of comfort.
Speaking to TalkSPORT ahead of England’s penultimate World Cup qualifier, Stones backed his international teammate to bounce back from his recent struggles.
“Harry is an incredible person, strong character,” he said. “I’ve no doubt he’ll come good at Man United and it’s not just him. I don’t want to say he’s not playing well, he’s doing so many things right. Sometimes it gets magnified and taken out of proportion.
“I’m not trying to pass blame or anything, but as a character and person I know, I believe he’ll be the incredible player he is and be back to that very soon and he’s got that character and mentality to be back to where he was and I believe he will.”
It’s difficult not to take some sort of pleasure in United’s recent demise.
Having spent years watching them win trophy after trophy as City slipped down the footballing pyramid, it’s nice to be top dogs in Manchester once again.
If someones plays brilliantly against you, then you try and sign them. Seems pretty decent logic, right?
Christopher Nkunku somehow found himself on the losing side on his visit to the Etihad Stadium earlier this season, despite bagging himself a hat-trick.
RB Leipzig were beaten 6-3 by Guardiola’s men in gameweek 1 of this season’s Champions League and it seems the City boss was very impressed with the France U21 international.
Nkunku is clearly a very talented player but I think City’s interest in him should depend on the respective futures of Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling.
Both have been tipped to leave the club in the near future, though the former has come out and denied such speculation. If they do make their exit then Nkunku could be a solid replacement, but signing another wide forward without shipping anyone out beforehand might be a little foolish.
No sooner has Guardiola offered Xavi his support is the newly-appointed Barcelona boss sniffing around one of City’s star men.
Mundo Deportivo report (via Sport Witness ) that Barca are keeping tabs on Ferran Torres, despite the youngster currently being sidelined through injury.
In all honesty, it’s not surprising to see Barcelona lodging their interest in Ferran. The Spain international was the subject of interest from the La Liga giants prior to his move to City and they’re clearly desperately in need of frontline reinforcements.
There’s absolutely no way City should even entertain Barcelona’s advances. Ferran has proved he can be a big player for City moving forward and his short stint as the focal point of City’s attack was very promising.
I have no doubt that Guardiola will be quick to rebuff any offers made by his former employers.
After enduring a slightly frustrating start to his City career, Joao Cancelo has become arguably Guardiola’s most important player.
Just one week on from Phil Foden’s proclamation that Cancelo was the best full-back in the world, Portugal boss Fernando Santos has made exactly the same claim.
As reported by Portuguese outlet Record, Santos made the claim prior to his side’s clash with the Republic of Ireland on Wednesday.
“All the full-backs that are here play both right and left,” he said. “We’ll take the options for this game depending on what we think is best. I definitely think Cancelo is the best full-back in the world, at least in my perspective.”
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Not only is Cancelo a brilliant footballer, the character he has shown to bounce back from falling out of favour with Guardiola is truly remarkable.
The Portugal international is now an integral part of the City team and without him, Guardiola’s side would look nowhere near as sharp in attack. Not bad for a full-back